House vows to pass reso concurring with PBBM’s amnesty proclamations

By Zaldy De Layola

November 30, 2023, 6:28 pm

MANILA – House of Representatives Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said Thursday they would expedite the passage of resolutions concurring with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s proclamations granting amnesty to various rebel groups.

“We will act with dispatch on these concurrent resolutions and we will strive to approve them before our Christmas break so that rebels who sincerely desire to return to the fold of law and lead normal lives, along with the members of their family, and our nation in general, could enjoy the blessings of peace as soon as possible,” he said in a statement.

Romualdez and other House leaders on Wednesday filed House Concurrent Resolutions 19, 20, 21, and 22, assenting to the grant of amnesty to rebels and insurgents to encourage them to return to the fold of the law, as part of the administration’s comprehensive peace initiatives.

“The timely adoption of these concurrent resolutions is attuned with the spirit of hope, peace, and joy that Christmas season brings,” he said.

The amnesty proclamations “shall take effect upon concurrence by a majority of all the members of the Congress.”

Apart from Romualdez, other authors of the concurrent House resolutions are Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio D. Gonzales Jr., Majority Leader Manuel Jose M. Dalipe, Minority Leader Marcelino C. Libanan, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Ferdinand Alexander A. Marcos, and Tingog Party-list Reps. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez and Jude A. Acidre.

The resolutions express the support for the government “in nurturing a climate conducive for peace, and in implementing programs for reconciliation and reintegration of rebels into mainstream society.”

These also convey that both houses of Congress recognize the need to act on rebel returnees’ request for the grant of amnesty so that they may live in peace in the pursuit of productive endeavors.

As far as the members of secessionist movements in the South, the concurrent resolutions said both chambers share the view that the granting of amnesty enables the delivery of an important commitment of the government under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, particularly the gradual normalization of the previously conflict-affected areas.

It would likewise provide a meaningful and complete transformation and assimilation of the decommissioned combatants into peaceful and progressive lives toward national reconciliation and healing in the Bangsamoro.

The authors of the concurrent resolutions pointed out that transforming armed combatants into productive citizens and peace partners is necessary to achieve the paramount ends of the peace process – national unity, solidarity, and progress for all Filipinos.

“It is imperative that we concur with the amnesty proclaimed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. for the general interest of Filipinos and for a lasting peace, unity, and reconciliation,” they said.

Amnesty Proclamations 403, 404, 405, and 406 cover members of the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB), Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), respectively.

However, this proclamation does not cover those charged under Republic Act (RA) 9372, otherwise known as the Human Security Act of 2007 and RA 11479, or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Also outside the scope of the amnesty are those charged with kidnap for ransom, massacre, rape, terrorism, crimes committed against chastity as defined in the Revised Penal Code, as amended, crimes committed for personal ends, violation of RA 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, grave violations of the Geneva Convention of 1949, and those identified by the United Nations as crimes that can never be the subject of amnesty, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, enforced disappearances, and other gross violations of human rights.

Applications for the grant of amnesty shall be filed under oath with the Amnesty Commission within two years from the effectivity of the amnesty proclamation. (PNA)